Once again, throw out everything you know and go with what you think you know, hope or want to happen.
Defensive newcomer of the year includes freshman, redshirt freshman and there is one junior college player in the mix here as well.
The nominees and a prediction for defensive newcomer of the year are:
- Two years ago Kevin Young was one of the more exciting recruiting victories in the Kansas Jayhawk class. Committed to Kansas early, was drawn to the glamor of the Nebraska name before settling back at home in Lawrence. Young has been on campus for two springs, one fall and enters with a bit of an edge over your average redshirt freshman because of it. With plenty of question marks at defensive end, Young will have an opportunity to play and contribute.
- It might be too soon to expect much from Thomas, but he does provide some level of versatility to the outside linebacker position. Coming out of spring he was listed on the two deep at outside linebacker, and if he can keep that spot and make plays when he's in, he might see his reps increase. The coaches do seem to like the potential and the versatility, Thomas just might not quite be ready just yet.
- Redshirted as a transfer a year ago and was a little lost as a bit of a tweener without a home at end or tackle on the defensive side of the ball. With both positions looking for answers, Stephens has a shot to contribute at both although end looks to be the likely destination at this point.
- A coaches son with experience as a safety at the high school level. The Kansas staff will move him to outside linebacker and for a variety of reasons there are plenty hoping for a repeat of the success Huldon Tharp was able to have as a freshman. It's not easy to find a true freshman that can play linebacker, but his football knowledge and pedigree make Farley a candidate.
- Started four years for one of the top high school programs in the nation, but as of yet has struggled a bit to transition. If he can put the pieces together he has the talent to make the play and take the position from the other candidates at safety. From there he could be a very solid player at the position for the next three years. I stress the IF.
Preseason Pick: Kevin Young
It's a position where Kansas will need help in order to be successful and it's a position they have been looking for an answer at for several years. Young made the sacrifice in coming in as a December grad during his senior year of high school in order to develop himself physically and begin the adjustment during spring ball.
He's just a redshirt freshman, but from an experience in the program standpoint he's approaching his third year. I'm a fan, I hesitate to place too high of expectations on anyone, but I'm hopeful that Young can find a spot and be effective.